PUM-mission to Senegal: IT business development and AI

On behalf of volunteer organisation PUM, Jan Gerard Snip, director-owner of software company Sping, travelled to Senegal. With the aim of providing an innovative extension to Sammanté Health's services. Their insurance services enable disadvantaged residents in Senegal to access essential healthcare services.

Pauline Barra, CEO and co-founder of Sammanté Health in Senegal, engaged PUM for IT business development. Her request: upgrade the health voucher IT system towards a 'Software as a Service model' and extend the functionality of the health voucher system with Artificial Intelligence capabilities.

Jan Gerard previously travelled to Palestine areas for PUM for a business development project. 'The assignment in Senegal is to upgrade an IT system to a SaaS model and extend the functionality with AI capabilities. This ties in nicely with my previous assignment for PUM and with Sping's ambition to revolutionise healthcare with AI. With AI innovation, companies can transform, optimise and pioneer'.

AI system for low literacy
Sammanté Health is a social enterprise in Senegal with a mission to address health inequalities through technology and innovative solutions. Its focus is on providing access to essential healthcare services. Especially for disadvantaged populations in regions with high poverty rates. To this end, Sammanté Health has developed a digital platform that facilitates access to healthcare through a system of online health vouchers.

Jan Gerard explains his role in this assignment: 'Together with client Pauline Barra, we choose to make the IT system for health vouchers more digitally automated and scalable. The functionality can be extended with an AI system so that low-literate people can also have low-threshold access. To this end, we are investigating which research institutes are researching so-called AI-language models in the local Senegalese language Wolof.'

Innovation in Africa
Africa has a lot of female entrepreneurship and a culture of collaboration and openness. Entrepreneurs support each other without hesitation. 'Senegalese are open and friendly, which makes this mission all the more valuable'. Jan Gerard continues: 'The young entrepreneurs are open to ideas and speak good English. Fortunately, because with my French I can only greet people and order some food.'

'In Senegal, especially in Dakar and Île de Gorée, the word "teranga" is often used to describe a sense of hospitality, friendliness and openness. It is an important part of Senegalese culture and emphasises that everyone belongs and is treated with kindness and respect. And this is how I experience my second PUM mission.

It is always good to broaden your view of the world. It gives me great satisfaction to share my knowledge and experience with other entrepreneurs through PUM's missions.'

About PUM
PUM is a voluntary organisation that helps strengthen businesses in developing countries and emerging markets to improve people's lives. Its aim is to contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. PUM volunteers' practical advice to SME entrepreneurs in over 30 countries worldwide has been highly valued for decades.